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Tram routes changed, abolished in shake-up to ease congestion
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Your new Jolimont/MCG tram stop
Every morning a handful of route 48d trams trundle through the Melbourne CBD – but keep your wits about you, if you think they are anything like a route 48 tram without the ‘d’.
They might start at the Victoria Harbour terminus at Docklands.
And run down Collins Street.
But after Spring Street they don’t turn towards Wellington Parade and Bridge Road – route 48d starts following route 109 along MacArthur Street and Victoria Parade.
Until it finally arrives at Kew Depot, where route 48 and 109 finally meet again.
So why do route 48d services mislead passengers by following Victoria Street? Yarra Trams says it is a normal practice:
Hi Marcus, thanks for contacting us. Route 48d tram travels from Stop D18 Victoria Harbour Docklands along Collins Street and continues down Victoria Street to Kew depot. We hope this info helps and apologise for any inconvenience.
— Yarra Trams (@yarratrams) December 18, 2019
But I would argue the route number is deceptive and should be changed – route 109d services also run down Collins Street, on a section of track not used by normal route 109 services.
So who cares if route 48d starts down at the Docklands end of route 48, where route 109 doesn’t run – it’s far more misleading to make people think you’re going to go through Hawthorn like a normal route 48 serivce, but end up in Abbotsford instead!
A history of depot tram route numbers
Once upon a time trams headed for the depot were even more confusing:
The don’t show up in timetables and cannot be seen on maps.
Like the supernatural creatures after which they are named, they can be tricky to find and, on paper at least, their existence is difficult to prove.
They are Melbourne’s ghost trams, secret services that slash waiting times for passengers in the know.
They ferry passengers to a depot or another point on the network where a tram is needed. It’s just that they are unscheduled.
Adding to the mystery – or confusion – is the fact that they have their own unique route number because they service only sections of a line.
Yarra Trams says different route numbers are allocated to avoid confusion. But PTUA president Daniel Bowen said the current system was even more baffling.
“It’s good that these services run,” he said.
“But using unknown route numbers that nobody has ever heard of is not good customer service.
“If the service is running most of the distance of the main route they should just use the main route number it doesn’t make sense to have so many trams running that no one knows about.
“They are not on signs, not on the web and just appear on the streets. If people knew about them they would recognise them and use them.”
The ‘ghost’ trams could be found all over Melbourne.
But that was finally simplified in 2011 when the simpler ‘a’ and ‘d’ route number system was introduced.
New tram route numbers are being trialed for altered services and services returning to the depot, from Sunday, 28 August 2011.
Mysterious route numbers such as 81, 121, 77 and 92 are being phased out to encourage more passengers to catch them to their destination.
The so-called phantom routes do not appear on the network map or timetables. They are services that are necessary to get trams to and from depots or to reposition them on the network.
Rather than running these trams empty to their destination, they still pick up passengers providing extra trips above existing timetabled services.
The new route identification format for these services will feature their parent route number and the letter ‘a’ or ‘d’.
This format means passengers will know that the “phantom route” travels along a regular timetabled and mapped route but terminates short of the end of that route or detours for part of its journey.
The letter ‘d’ means the tram terminates at the ‘depot.’
The letter ‘a’ means the service is ‘altered’ and is not running the full length of the route.
If you see a letter after the route number, check the destination display to find out where the tram is going.
So why are trams down Collins Street towards Kew Depot assigned number 48d? Back in October 2011 I photographed one such service.
But headed along Bridge Road.
As detailed by Hugh Waldron in his history of Kew Depot:
Route numbers rationalised with the abolition of intermediate route numbers. To replace the depot and infrequently used route numbers a and d letters were introduced. This resulted in the following Kew Depot route numbers being abolished:-
So maybe route 48d trams where at some point changed to run via Victoria Street, but no one thought that necessitated changing the route number route 109d?
In 2009 Hugh Waldron compiled a full history of Melbourne tram route mumbers.
The post Confusion abounds on route 48d to Kew appeared first on Waking up in Geelong.
This article first appeared on wongm.com
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